YouTube superstar Flula Borg is an a capella scene-stealer
YouTube star Flula Borg, 33, is enjoying his biggest moment ever after the release of Pitch Perfect 2, in which he plays one of the leaders of the German a capella troupe Das Sound Machine. EW spoke to the self-described “weirdo dude” about his role in the film, the number of push-ups he needed to do every day while training for it, and his uncontainable excitement over a future role opposite some famous critters.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’re having a lot of fun in the movie, but you seemed a little calmer than in your YouTube videos. Did you have to restrain yourself a bit?
FLULA BORG: I did, yes. I felt like I had to. I had to run many, many sprints outside—both in my mind and in real life. And then they would yell action and then I would arrive. Otherwise I’d be bouncing around like a mad jellybean, as you can probably see.
What was it like to part of such a huge production?
Oh, it was so huge. I started off making very simple videos for about five dollars and a box of shoes. So to be in this production—I will tell you, yes it’s weird, but the atmosphere was basically like the videos I shoot, except there was a snacks table and the camera was a little larger.
How did this all happen?
Well, it was very strange. They emailed my website. They had asked, “We’re looking for some German weirdo dudes, where can we find some?” And someone in the production office was like, “I’ve seen some videos from a German weirdo dude.” So for me it’s great that it happened that way, because I’ve always made these little YouTube videos as if they’re tiny bread crumbs to hopefully attract fancy people to give me fancy jobs. I love it when a plan comes together. That’s the part of me that feels very A-Team.
Had you seen the first movie?
Yes, I loved it. And some of the reason was that I really did feel a part of it. You know, I have maybe five talents in my life. One is eating, two is sleeping. But the other three are all in the movie, so I was so excited that they would perhaps cast me to do the things I love to do. Act, sing, and dance.
And I’ve heard the set was very easygoing.
Absolutely. What was great was that we were allowed very much to just play. [Director] Elizabeth Banks would often ask me and everyone, “What do you think? Did that work? Do you want to try it somehow different?” It was very free. If people enjoy the movie it is because we were able to just play around with no pressure.
That is your voice, right, that you’re singing with?
Of course, it’s all me. That is the highest quality German sassiness. From my mouth to your ears!
Were you surprised by the rehearsal period? It must have taken awhile to learn those dances.
That was the hardest part, the dancing. The singing came fast and the acting came fast, but we rehearsed the dancing for three and a half weeks. Let me tell you, my quads and hamstrings were ready for naps.
You look very ripped in the film.
Oh, thank you so much, that’s very kind. I did at least eight push-ups every day.
I see you have a role in a movie called Killing Hasselhoff.
Yes, I shot that a little bit after Pitch Perfect 2. This one I didn’t audition for at all, they just contacted me directly because of my YouTube videos. It’s about a man who wants to kill David Hasselhoff so that he can win money in a death pool. But I just have a single scene with me and Ken Jeong, who is the tiniest, nicest man I’ve ever known. It’s a strange scene. I play an insane German hobo, which was a huge stretch for me. But with a little more energy than Pitch Perfect, so not as many marathon runs outside for me before they yelled “Action.”
Did you know that Ken Jeong is a doctor?
Yes, he is an M.D. and that is wonderful for me. Whenever I slipped into hyperventilation, I was very comfortable with Ken by my side, knowing that he would always take care of me.
So what else do you have coming up?
Well, I live in Los Angeles most of the time now. And I just shot a pilot for NBC. It’s called Cuckoo and it’s based on an BBC show. It’s about a family and the daughter goes studying abroad during college and she meets a interesting, strange man and marries him right away and brings him home. And spoiler alert: I play the interesting, strange man. In the British version, my character was played by Andy Samberg. But of course we have no idea what will happen with the pilot. But oh man, it was so fun.
Do you have any more roles in films?
Yes, yes. Right this moment I’m shooting a small feature called Honeybuddies with my good friend David Giuntoli. He’s the star of the TV show Grimm. We met each other as he was backpacking some years ago in Germany and we became best friends and I lived on his porch for some time. It’s a very small, strange world. And right now I’m wearing a sun outfit, I’m dressed like the sun.
What’s the story of it?
The plot is that he’s about to get married but his wife calls off the wedding. And as his best friend I decide that I don’t want to ruin his idea of a honeymoon, so I join him and we go on the honeymoon together, me and him. We shot for nine days in Portland last year but today and tomorrow we’re doing pickup shots. His schedule is very busy and somehow my schedule is very busy too.
But you must like that, right? Being busy and doing a bunch of things.
Oh, totally. It’s very freeing and very exciting but the pressure is very low as well. It’s like what I do all the time anyway. My life is very strange. Today I’m shooting this indie film and and then very soon I’m shooting a small part in Alvin 4. You might have heard of it—it’s a very serious franchise about some chipmunks. I’m very excited to interact with chipmunks and squirrels and all the other animals of nature. I hope I get to dance with them very hard.